February 23 Anne Wichmann (University of Central Lancashire)
Discourse, Prosody and Spoken Corpora

'Discourse intonation' means different things to different people. It has been used to refer to a wide range of phenomena including utterance meaning, information structure, topic structure, turn taking and backchannel responses. I will attempt to describe those prosodic features, mainly intonation, which may be relevant to the study of some of these phenomena.

There appear to be two main research communities who are currently interested in the role of intonation in discourse - the speech (technology) community and Conversation Analysts. The different motivations of the two communities influence the kind of data analysed and the method of analysis, but much is already known both about the role of intonation in structuring spoken monologue and its role in conversational interaction. The problem arises when we try to apply corpus linguistic methods to such work. I shall discuss how far prosodic features can be investigated using such methods. This means that we need to consider the possiblity of both automatic annotation and automatic retrieval.

I shall give an overview of some recent corpus-based findings on discourse prosody. These will include studies based on the manually annotated Spoken English Corpus and London-Lund Corpus, and also from some studies from the speech science community which rely, to some extent at least, on automatic annotation. I will then consider some of the findings from Conversation Analysis, mainly based on case studies, and discuss how far such studies could be carried out using larger bodies of data, and using corpus linguistic techniques.

Preliminary Bibliography
Aijmer, K. 1996 Conversational Routines in English Longman
Couper-Kuhlen, E & M. Selting (eds) 1996 Prosody in Conversation CUP
Hirshberg, J & M. Swerts (eds) 1998 Language and Speech Special double issue 'Prosody and Conversation'
Knowles, G, Wichmann, A, Alderson, P. 1996 Working with Speech Longman
Wichmann, A. 2000 Intonation in Text and Discourse Pearson Education

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